Tell House to Do Child Nutrition Right

August 9, 2010
by Jos Linn and Meredith Dodson

In 2010, RESULTS has been pushing Congress to pass a strong reauthorization of child nutrition programs. These are programs that help provide low-income children (and some adults) access to healthy food all year round, e.g. school lunch program, afterschool meal program, child and adult care feeding program, WIC, and others. Both the House and Senate have passed their respective child nutrition bills out of committee. The House went on recess last week with the intention of voting on their bill, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 (H.R.5504), later this fall. The Senate however passed its bill, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) to pay for part of its bill. This will reduce benefit levels starting in 2013. While we applaud new investments in child nutrition, we do not support using money from SNAP or any other anti-poverty program to pay for them. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul. RESULTS signed onto a national letter urging Congress not to use SNAP to offset funding for other programs.

There are now some rumors that the House may vote on the Senate bill when it comes back briefly next week for another vote (see below), instead of debating and voting on its own bill. RESULTS strongly opposes this. The House bill allocates more funding for child nutrition and has yet to determine its offsets. If they simply approve the Senate bill, they will be cutting off any opportunity to correct the Senate’s mistake. They will also be short-changing hungry children not once, but twice — once with the lower funding level and twice by cutting SNAP funding to pay for it (80 percent of SNAP households are households with children).

TAKE ACTION: Tell the House to finish its own child nutrition bill. Follow up from your meeting and correspondences over the last few months to tell House members to reject efforts to quickly vote on the Senate child nutrition bill when they return next Tuesday. Call toll-free (800) 826-3688 and ask for your representative’s office. Tell the person who answers the following:

”My name is ____________ and I am a constituent from ________________ and also a RESULTS volunteer. I am pleased that the House is on track to pass a strong child nutrition reauthorization bill this year, H.R.5504; America’s hungry children are counting on it. But I am angry that the Senate has chosen to take money away from kids and families who need food stamps to pay for their child nutrition bill. You don’t end hunger by taking food away from the hungry. Please tell Rep. __________________ to reject any attempts to simply pass the Senate child nutrition bill. Instead, the House should pass its own bill in due course which is better and stronger than the Senate bill. And it should do so with appropriate offsets that don’t take resources away from low-income Americans. Thank you for your time.”

We greatly thank Bread for the World for use of their toll-free number. If you cannot call, be sure to send an e-mail to your members of Congress.

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